Ga. Commissioner Parks Agency Reportedly Selling Bogus Taxi and Limo Coverage

March 1, 2005

  • March 2, 2005 at 4:02 am
    ex-husband's a Kiwi says:
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    Go home! Defraud people in your own country.

  • March 2, 2005 at 4:39 am
    Mark says:
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    They can’t defraud a TRUE NO FAULT SYSTEM, which the Kiwi’s have. It’s only here where the Attorney’s and Insurance Companies perpetuate a FAKE No Fault option in most states and Agents are afraid to give up commissions to have a true No Fault Pay As You Drive System. So long as the system is allowed to be the way it is there will be fraud NO MATTER WHAT NATIONALITY YOU ARE!

  • March 3, 2005 at 8:48 am
    Joe C. says:
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    I hope they make a example of these
    poor excuse of insurance folks. It makes
    the Industry look bad.

  • June 29, 2006 at 4:08 am
    Godfrey Waterhouse says:
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    I hope that the 3 comment posters above read this and are as quick to retract their garbage comments,based on media garbage,and apologise, as they were to make their ignorance based comments. For their information, no CHARGES were ever laid agianst either my son or me, all the UNFOUNDED ALLEGATIONS were DISMISSED and I am showing below what can best be described as \”Before and AFTER.\”They ar the articles that appeared in the Atlanta Journal in March 2005 and then this week, June 2006. There is also what appeared in another fine, truth/fact reporting Georgia newdpaper in March 2005 and its sequel which appeared a week or so ago. It is my hope that Joe C., Mark and ex-husband\’s a Kiwi CHOKE, or at least get indigestion, from eating their words.

    State busts alleged insurance scam: Taxis grounded
    Peralte C. Paul, Leon Stafford – Staff
    Wednesday, March 2, 2005

    A father-and-son team in Barnesville allegedly ran a taxicab insurance scam that left thousands of cabdrivers across Georgia without coverage because the vehicles were never insured.

    At least 155 livery service companies in Georgia, including 75 in metro Atlanta, are being ordered to stop operations until they have proof of valid insurance, state Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine said Tuesday.

    Any disruption in taxicab service could have a major impact on metro Atlanta\’s $3.5 billion convention and tourism industry. It also could affect operations at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, one of the nation\’s busiest airports.

    Metro Atlanta draws hundreds of thousands of business travelers and conventioneers, many of whom need transportation to hotels. Conventioneers depend on taxis to get to the Georgia World Congress Center, the nation\’s fourth-largest convention center.

    Oxendine\’s office began sending letters to the affected companies Tuesday and is expected to make that list public today.

    \’\’These are innocent victims; they wrote a check and paid the premiums,\’\’ Oxendine said. \’\’But once we notify them, they will be breaking the law if they continue to operate before they get insurance.\’\’

    Oxendine said it will probably take three or four days to notify all the affected companies.

    Law enforcement officials say the taxi scam, which allegedly ran for more than two years, netted Godfrey Waterhouse and his son, Robert Waterhouse, more than $3 million in premiums. Robert Waterhouse, 36, was arrested Tuesday and charged with 40 counts of theft by deception, 40 counts of insurance fraud and one count of racketeering.

    Godfrey Waterhouse, who was charged with the same 81 counts, is in New Zealand, and state officials are seeking extradition, said Richard Milam, district attorney for the Towaliga Circuit, which includes Barnesville, about 50 miles south of downtown Atlanta.

    The two were licensed to sell insurance in Georgia and operated as Main Street Brokerage and Phoenix Brokers out of a Barnesville storefront. The state is in the process of revoking their licenses.

    The alleged fraud involved only policies written on taxis, limousines and airport shuttles.

    Insurance investigators uncovered the alleged scam in January after a Columbus cab company filed a complaint with Oxendine\’s office.

    \”They were having problems in having some claims handled,\” Oxendine said. \”As it continued, we saw it was much more serious. In January, we found out that they had not written any insurance policies.\”

    The pair allegedly signed up livery companies for policies by saying they were representatives of Mark Solofa Co., an insurer based in Pago Pago, American Samoa. But Solofa executives told officials they had never heard of the Waterhouses and that they sell policies only to vehicles in American Samoa.

    \”They just picked the company\’s name and were using it,\” Milam said. \”They were just issuing policies and collecting money.\”

    During Waterhouse\’s arrest at his Thomaston home, police seized several cars, computer files and bank records, Milam said. Officials identified at least eight different bank accounts in the Waterhouses\’ names and froze those assets. But Oxendine said \”hundreds of thousands\” of dollars more is in accounts in New Zealand.

    Though based in Barnesville, the pair never sold any insurance there, Oxendine said. \”But they were doing business everywhere else in Georgia.\”

    Wayne Culbreth, co-owner of Luxury Atlanta Limousines, based in Tucker, said his company was notified by the commissioner\’s office in December that the insurance it had purchased from the Waterhouses was fake. The company was able to switch insurance for its four limousines and luxury sedans to a legitimate company and keep its fleet on the road, but \’\’we had just renewed our insurance and, within 30 days, we had to switch and pay for it again,\’\’ Culbreth said. \’\’It\’s been three or four months, and we\’re still getting over that.\’\’

    With the threat of hundreds of taxis, limos and shuttles being sidelined for several days, local hoteliers were considering contingency plans.

    Ronen Nissenbaum, general manager of the InterContinental Hotel in Buckhead, said he has several staffers who could drive guests, as well as bellmen who could be called into service. The hotel has several cars it could use to shuttle guests, and MARTA is just blocks away.

    \”For the short term, we do have an immediate Band-Aid for the situation,\” said InterContinental Hotels Group spokeswoman Stephanie Bezner. \”If this were long term we would evaluate our options, but we would definitely take care of our guests.\”

    Culbreth said he hopes his company, and others like it, will be able to recoup some of the money they lost. He said he\’s glad the bogus insurance has been made public, hopefully helping other transport companies avoid disaster.

    \’\’If something happens and you have no insurance, you lose everything you\’ve got,\’\’ he said.

    — The Associated Press contributed to this article.

    155: Number of livery service companies in Georgia being ordered to halt operations until they have proof of valid insurance.

    $3.5 billion: Annual value of convention and tourism industry in metro Atlanta.

    81: Charges against each of the insurance scam suspects.

    $3 million: Premiums allegedly collected.


    Companies that suspect they may have purchased bogus insurance from Phoenix Brokers Inc. or Main Street Brokers Inc. are encouraged to contact the state insurance commissioner\’s office at 1-800-656-2298.

    \”Pulitzer Prize? Paul\’s\” Latest Production
    Dear Mr. Paul
    I have read your latest piece, which is an improvement on the first 2 although, after reading the first 2, an improvement would not have been difficult.
    You will see, below, some dictionary definitions and a copy of your latest piece for reference. I will deal with your composition paragraph by paragraph, as I did with your earlier \”work of fiction.\”
    Someone, whether it is you or \”The State,\” or both, still seems to have difficulty in differentiating between \”allegations\” and \”charges,\” hence the definitions below. I hope that you and \”The State\” may find them helpful
    I suppose \”charges\” sounds much more dramatic and attention getting from a \”news\” standpoint, and it also sounds better from Oxendine\’s standpoint, for obvious reasons, if he also keeps saying \”charges\” instead of (unfounded) allegations.
    The CORRECT heading for your composition SHOULD have been something like \”State dismisses/drops allegations in taxi insurance ????????\” There were NO CHARGES to DISMISS and there was NO CASE!!!!!!!
    It is interesting that \”of the LARGE volumes of documents SEIZED\’ only \”SEVERAL were exculpatory.\”
    I also liked the way you conveniently left out \”on the advice of his lawyer,\” after saying \”Godfrey Waterhouse, who is now in the United States, declined to be interviewed for this article.\” The final sentence of that paragraph clearly implies thatContractors Bonding assured ME that THEY (Contractors Bonding) were authorized to underwrite policies in the United States. That is NOT TRUE and if you had done your job properly you would have known, or certainly could have found out, that that was not the case. I suggest that you perhaps read up on some sections of the Georgia Insurance Code.
    It is also clear from your final paragraph that Oxendine either DOESN\’T know, or CHOOSES not to know, what he is talking about. The \”roughly $200,000,00 in assets (cash) that were seized\” has been spent by the Receiver on his \”fees,\” and NOT A SINGLE PENNY has been paid on claims or to any livery driver. Contractors Bonding recently sent US$211,000.00 to the USA to pay any and all outstanding claims. GAB Robins have been appointed to adjust all the claims. Think about this for a moment Mr. Paul, if an INSURANCE COMPANY accepts liability for, and PAYS any and all legitimate claims, how can the insurance be \”fake/bogus?\”
    You should also, perhaps, call the Receiver, one Mr. Kennedy in Macon, and ask him how he managed to go through $200,000.00 in 12 months. Not bad going, $4,000.00 per week!!
    Hopefully, one day, you will print the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you someone who knows it and who doesn\’t have a personal agenda for obfuscating it.
    Geoff. Waterhouse


    [Show phonetics]
    verb [T]
    (esp. in legal matters) to state that (something bad) is a fact without giving proof
    It was alleged that Johnson had struck Mr. Rahim on the head.

    [Show phonetics]
    adjective [not gradable]
    It took years for the alleged criminals to prove their innocence.

    [Show phonetics]
    adverb [not gradable]
    She allegedly murdered her husband.

    [Show phonetics]
    noun [C]
    (esp. in legal matters) a statement, made without giving proof, that someone has done something wrong or illegal
    The allegations of corruption were not true.

    (from Cambridge Dictionary of American English)

    al·le·ga·tion ( P ) Pronunciation Key (l-gshn)
    Something alleged; an assertion: allegations of disloyalty.
    The act of alleging.
    A statement asserting something without proof: The newspaper\’s charges of official wrongdoing were mere allegations.
    Law. An assertion made by a party that must be proved or supported with evidence
    noun [C] FORMAL
    a statement which has not been proven to be true which says that someone has done something wrong or illegal:
    Several of her patients have made allegations of professional misconduct about/against her.
    [+ that] Allegations that Mr Dwight was receiving money from known criminals have caused a scandal.
    Oxford Online Dictionary
    • noun 1 a price asked. 2 a formal accusation made against a prisoner brought to trial.

    Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
    6 a : a formal assertion of illegality

    State drops charges in taxi insurance case

    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
    Published on: 06/27/06
    The charges against a father and son accused of using their Barnesville insurance firms to allegedly sell bogus insurance to taxi and limousine drivers have been dropped.
    John W. Oxendine, Georgia\’s insurance commissioner, said the state had difficulty in proving its case against Godfrey Waterhouse and his son, Robert.
    \”Beyond a reasonable doubt is a very high standard,\” Oxendine said, explaining the charges were dropped last month. \”The attorney general\’s office has expressed concern at this time proving a criminal case.\”
    The Waterhouses, who are British nationals, were licensed to sell insurance in Georgia and operated at Main Street Brokerage and Phoenix Brokers in Barnesville.
    When Robert Waterhouse was arrested in March of last year, the state officials said he and his father sold fake policies written on taxis, limousines and airport shuttles.
    But Godfrey Waterhouse — who, until this month, had been living in New Zealand — has always maintained their innocence, saying they did nothing wrong.
    The state \”seized large volumes of documents at the Waterhouses\’ business,\” said Russ Willard, a spokesman for the Georgia attorney general\’s office. \”Several of those documents have turned out to be exculpatory in nature, and the state cannot proceed, in a good-faith basis, with the prosecutions.\”
    State officials said the Waterhouses told livery companies they were representatives of Mark Solofa Co., an insurer based in Pago Pago, American Samoa. But that company issues policies only on vehicles in American Samoa.
    Godfrey Waterhouse, who is now in the United States, declined to be interviewed for this article and has said his firms sold insurance through Contractors Bonding Limited, which is based in New Zealand. He also has said Contractors Bonding assured him it was authorized to underwrite policies in the United States.
    Georgia officials say Contractors Bonding is the focus of the investigation, and the Waterhouses may have sold the policies not knowing they were fake.
    A representative of the Auckland-based Contractors Bonding, who answered the telephone, said the company had no comment. He declined to give his name.
    \”Contractors Bonding is the current target of the ongoing investigation,\” said Margaret Witten, an attorney for the state\’s Insurance Commission. \”There\’s evidence to suggest that they are the persons who perpetrated the crime.\”
    Both Waterhouses are helping with the state\’s probe, Willard said.
    Although the focus of the investigation has shifted, Oxendine said the Waterhouses\’ licenses to sell insurance in Georgia, revoked last year, remain revoked. And the roughly $200,000 in assets that were seized are in court receivership to be used in claims payouts to livery drivers who carried the fake policies.
    COLUMBUS PAPER\’S Contributions

    Columbus Ledger-Enquirer (GA)

    March 2, 2005
    Author: BRYAN BRASHER, Staff Writer
    Section: LOCAL
    Page: L1

    Estimated printed pages: 3
    Article Text:
    A short time ago, Joe Bowman switched his insurance coverage for Yellow Cab and Checker Cab of Columbus from Main Street Brokerage Inc. to another insurance company in hopes of saving a few dollars.
    Turns out, the move may have helped him save far more than that.
    State Insurance Commissioner John W. Oxendine announced Tuesday that a cease-and-desist order has been issued against Main Street Brokerage Inc. and Phoenix Brokers Inc. for allegedly selling bogus insurance policies to taxi and limousine companies across the state. Soon after the order was issued, authorities arrested co-owner Robert Waterhouse at his home in Thomaston, Ga. An arrest warrant was issued for his father and co-owner, Godfrey Waterhouse. Both father and son are natives of New Zealand, Oxendine said.
    Oxendine said the two companies, which are located in Barnesville, Ga., allegedly collected nearly $3 million in fraudulent insurance premiums during the past 2 1/2 years. He said bogus policies were purchased by taxi and limo companies in most of the state\’s major cities, including as many as nine companies in Columbus. The list of victims included Yellow Cab and Checker Cab of Columbus, which are both co-owned by Bowman.
    Bowman said he\’s fortunate to have gotten away from the Waterhouse firms when he did.
    \”I shop around for the best rates on a pretty regular basis,\” Bowman said. \”I got away from them a couple of months ago by pure happenstance — just by default.\”
    The policies sold by their brokerages were allegedly from Mark Solofa Insurance Company — a legitimate insurer located in American Samoa. But the premiums were never passed on to the insurer, and neither agent had a contract to represent Mark Solofa Insurance.
    Bowman said his companies escaped the situation with only one unpaid insurance claim — but others weren\’t so fortunate. According to Oxendine, the fraudulent activities placed numerous businesses in financial peril across the state. He said the illegal acts also put many Georgians at risk whenever they rode in a vehicle that was supposedly covered by the firms.
    Oxendine said the full list of Columbus businesses affected by the scam won\’t be known until later this week. He believes at least one of those businesses has filed a major claim that will never be paid by the brokerage firm.
    The money may, however, be recouped through the judicial system.
    \”We\’ve already begun seizing bank accounts and assets from the owners of the firms,\” Oxendine saidHopefully, those who got taken by these people will get some restitution.\”
    Bowman offered condolences to those who were harshly affected by the scam. At the same time, he hoped his companies would not be cast in a bad light by the news.
    He insisted that people are insured when they ride in his cabs.
    \”I don\’t want my customers to think that they\’re riding around in cabs without any insurance,\” Bowman said. \”That is absolutely not the case. We\’re with a totally different insurance company now — and the people who ride with us have nothing to worry about.\”
    The Associated Press contributed to this report.
    Georgia Insurance Commissioner John W. Oxendine offers these tips for avoiding insurance scams:
    > Make sure you are dealing with a licensed company and agent. Every insurance company and every insurance agent licensed to operate in Georgia is listed at If yours aren\’t listed, find out why.
    > Remember, an agent can use the name of a legitimate company and still not be selling a legitimate policy. Always check your policy for a contact number. Then contact the company directly to verify that your insurance is in good standing.
    > Contact your insurance company on occasion to make sure your bills are being paid.
    > If you have questions, concerns or suspicions about your insurance, contact the Commissioner\’s Consumer Services Division at (800) 656-2298. Phone lines are open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday.
    Copyright (c) 2005 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
    Record Number: 0503020111


    Posted on Thu, Jun. 22, 2006

    Father and son cleared of insurance fraud charges
    Pair now assisting attorney general with probe of bogus policies
    Staff Writer

    Two men initially charged with insurance fraud have been cleared of any criminal charges and are assisting the Georgia Attorney General\’s Office, a spokesman for the office said.
    Godfrey Waterhouse and his son, Robert Waterhouse, co-owners of Mainstreet Brokerage Inc. and Phoenix Brokers Inc., were charged with insurance fraud and theft, said Russ Willard, director of communications with the Attorney General\’s Office, on Wednesday. The charges stemmed from the alleged sale of bogus insurance policies to taxi and limousine companies across Georgia.
    Arrest warrants for both father and son were issued March 1, 2005. Robert Waterhouse was arrested that day in Thomaston, Ga., shortly after State Insurance Commissioner John W. Oxendine announced a cease-and-desist order had been issued against both companies. Robert Waterhouse was released from jail two weeks later and the charges were dropped shortly afterward, Willard said.
    Godfrey Waterhouse was never arrested because he was living in New Zealand, Willard said. The charges against him were dropped a month ago.
    \”(The Attorney General\’s Office) could not prove they knew they were bogus policies, and this is why they dropped the charges against Robert,\” said Glenn Allen, spokesman for Oxendine\’s office.
    \”That\’s a decision they had to make,\” Oxendine said of the attorney general\’s office. \”They have a very high standard.\”
    The legitimacy of the policies is still a point of contention. Contacted Tuesday, Godfrey Waterhouse said the policies were legitimate. \”We paid almost $1.5 million in claims,\” he said.
    Godfrey Waterhouse said the investigation targeted a New Zealand-based company, Contractors Bonding Limited, through which the Waterhouses\’ agencies issued their policies.
    Godfrey Waterhouse claims Contractors Bonding Limited assured him it had bought Mark Solofa Insurance Co. — a company based in American Samoa — which would have made the Waterhouses\’ policies compliant with a law requiring they be backed by a U.S. company.
    Contractors Bonding Limited never purchased Mark Solofa, Godfrey Waterhouse said.
    There is still MUCH more to this story and I hope that the 3 Stooges are around to see it

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